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Pirates' Young adjusting to second base

| Sunday, Aug. 2, 2009

Seeing Delwyn Young instead of recently traded Freddy Sanchez playing second base for the Pirates probably is somewhat of an odd sight for Bucs fans.

But Young, who's played mostly outfield for the Pirates this season, is no stranger to the infield.

The 27-year-old said he's spent half of his professional career playing the infield after being drafted as a second baseman. Still, transitioning into the Pirates' everyday second baseman won't be a breeze.

"The infield has to be more of a daily routine than the outfield," Young said. "It's harder to pick a hop. There are no bad hops in the air. There's no one barreling down on you with a fly ball. Infield is probably (more difficult) just because it's more of a grind."

Young played a combined 53 games in the outfield this season and last — with the Dodgers — and 15 at second base.

Young permanently took over for Sanchez on Friday night. He turned a nice double play, but also was late on one of his throws to first base after fielding a routine grounder.

It's part of the transition, but Young won't make excuses.

"I just took too long," he said.

Young said he doesn't favor playing at second over the outfield and that he's equally as comfortable at both spots.

"Will he be able to play second base every day at the major-league level?" Pirates manager John Russell asked, rhetorically. "We hope so. He shows signs of it, but then, we still have a lot of work to do. We'll continue to evaluate it."

One thing Young isn't comfortable with is talking about the idea of filling Sanchez's shoes. Comparing himself to Sanchez, who spent four-plus seasons with the Pirates and was a three-time All-Star, isn't something Young thinks much about.

"I know he did a lot for Pittsburgh, and I'm not even trying to get into that conversation," Young said. "I'm taking over for someone I know that a lot of people here cared about, so it's just turning a page to a new day."

Hart's next start?

Newly acquired starting pitcher Kevin Hart could fit into the Pirates' rotation as early as Wednesday, but Russell isn't certain when Hart will make his Bucs debut.

The right-hander went 3-1 with a 2.60 ERA in four starts before he was traded from the Cubs as part of a deal that sent pitchers John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny to Chicago.

"We're still gonna evaluate what day he'll start," Russell said. "Wednesday will probably be the first day he's eligible to pitch, the way our rotation is set up. We still gotta get through the day and see how it sets up next week."

Jones' jubilant July

Pirates rookie outfielder/first baseman Garrett Jones led all major-league players with 10 home runs during the month of July.

He hit .310 with seven doubles and 17 RBI and stole five bases last month.

Welcome back

Former Pirates outfielder Nyjer Morgan, who was traded to the Washington Nationals earlier last month, drew a nice applause from the crowd Saturday night at PNC Park during introductions and before his first at-bat.

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